Meet Gemma who runs the beautiful Little Beau, an independent children’s shop that has just opened its doors in Tunsgate, Guildford. As you know, I love independent shops, and think they play a vital part in keeping our high streets looking vibrant and full of character, as opposed to faceless and indistinguishable from every other town centre.
I first met Gemma when I popped into another great children’s store, Little Angel Shoes, in Godalming. At that time, Little Beau was based in nearby Cranleigh, and I suggested to Gemma that when she relocated, I interview her for my blog. So I went in to see her recently, and also took some photos of her gorgeous new shop; I love the vibrant colours and the clothes are absolutely beautiful (my favourite was the little fur coat!)
You can see the pictures, and read more about how Gemma started her business, below.
Can you tell me a bit about your work before you started Little Beau?
I was working for a large investment bank and when the recession hit, I was made redundant. It was a blessing in disguise as it gave me time to spend with my young daughter and think about what I really wanted to do going forward. My job now is so different to anything I have ever done before. I had no experience in the children’s clothing industry, buying, e-commerce and everything else that goes with running your own business!
What do you believe makes your shop special?
My shop stands out from all the others in Guildford as it is the only true independently owned children’s clothing shop. I will only stock quality brands that I believe in and have road tested on my own children. I hand pick the clothing from each brand every season, so what my customers are seeing when they come in are the very best pieces out there. Each and every customer will always receive a warm welcome and excellent personal service – something that is lost in large chain stores.
Do you have any current bestsellers?
This season, our best selling dress has been the red Electra dress from new British label, Original Sister. It’s so simple, but really striking and perfect for the festive season. For boys, the Petit Bateau sweatshirt sleepsuit has been a hit. We’re also selling the wooden push along toys from Orange Tree Toys like hotcakes!
As a mum yourself, what are the qualities that you look for in children’s clothing?
I want my children to look great but feel comfortable too. Their clothing has to be practical, durable and ideally made from 100% natural fibres. My children love to get dirty and are really active, so their clothing must wash and wear well too. I will always choose smaller, independent, more ethical brands for them to wear as the quality and design is so much better than mass produced high street labels. You really don’t have to spend much to get something better.
How does it feel to be located in Guildford now, and what sort of feedback have you received since opening earlier in November?
I’m so excited to finally be here. It’s always been a bit of a dream to have my own shop filled with great things in Guildford. The response so far has been phenomenal. Everyone has been so positive about our products and we are regularly seeing return customers. I really love our location too – Tunsgate is becoming a lovely little hotspot for brilliant independent shops.
Running a business and having a family, you probably don’t have a whole lot of spare time! When you do, what do you love doing?
It’s a daily struggle I’ll admit! When I do get the occasional day off at the weekend, I just spend time with my husband and 2 children. We’re lucky enough to live in the countryside, so woodland walks are always great.
Name 3 of the best things about Guildford?
The location – It’s so easy to get to central London or down to the coast
Shopping – Guildford has a variety of shops and there really is something for everyone.
Community – The independent traders all want to help each other to succeed. I have some amazing neighbours here at Tunsgate!
We’re just a few weeks away from Christmas; what’s on your wish list from Santa?
My wish list is the same every year – I’m a bit predictable!
- A fancy hair dryer
- Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay Cologne or Candle
- Leather Boots
Any one of the above please Santa 🙂
Thank you Gemma! And mums and dads, if you’re looking for something original and beautiful for your little one, take a trip to Little Beau – it’s well worth a visit.